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Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years

Spider-Man Harry to lead inaugural Walk of Hope in Portsmouth

Spider-Man Harry to lead inaugural Walk of Hope in Portsmouth

A six-year-old boy living with an incurable brain tumour will lead a Walk of Hope to help scientists searching for a cure for the disease.

Harry St Ledger, aka Spider-Man Harry, will take part in one of several walks organised by the Brain Tumour Research charity to fund research into the disease. Too weak to complete the distance on foot, Harry will participate in his wheelchair, alongside his mum, Fiona Lear, dad, Cairan St Ledger and nine-year-old sister, Emonie.

Harry, from Portchester, underwent a gruelling course of radiotherapy in March 2018, after he was diagnosed with a very rare type of tumour similar to a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Throughout his treatment, Harry, who has autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), wore a mesh mask to ensure his radiotherapy was delivered with pinpoint accuracy. The little boy’s mask was of his favourite superhero, Spider-Man, to give him the courage to get through.

Harry’s tumour has a poor prognosis and very limited treatment options. His family are working alongside Brain Tumour Research to help fund research into the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40. Cairan St Ledger’s cleaning company, HSL Outdoor Cleaning Services, will sponsor the charity’s inaugural Portsmouth Walk of Hope, which will begin at The Spice Island Pub on Saturday 29th September 2018.

Cairan, aged 31, said: “The past year has been heart-breaking for my whole family. Though Harry has been so strong throughout his radiotherapy, it is agonising to think of what potentially lies ahead as radiotherapy is one of the few treatment options for Harry. I will be so immensely proud of him as he leads the Walk of Hope and I hope he inspires others to join him in pursuit of a cure for this merciless disease.”

Those who join Harry on the day can either take on a four or seven-mile route. Taking in the Portsmouth seafront, they will walk the cobbled streets of Old Portsmouth before heading onto the Southsea Common and South Parade Pier. Walkers can either return back along the beach towards Old Portsmouth, or continue onto the Eastney Swimming Baths to complete the longer route. An exclusive, non-alcoholic ‘Mocktail of Hope’ will be served to all finishers.

Tim Green, Senior Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “I would like to encourage as many people as possible to join Harry at the Portsmouth Walk of Hope. The family have been through so much this year but have tirelessly helped us to raise money and awareness for research into brain tumours.”

Brain Tumour Research funds a network of Centres of Excellence, including its flagship at the University of Portsmouth, where scientists are focused on improving treatment options and, ultimately, finding a cure for brain tumours.

Tim added: “This will be the first event of its kind in Portsmouth and many of those taking part know only too well the devastation a brain tumour causes. The Walks of Hope are always a popular event for us, as the whole family can get involved. There is a strong sense of fellowship and sharing an experience, which is a very positive thing. The money raised on the day will go towards research into the causes of brain tumours, improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.”

The registration fee is £10 for individuals and £20 for families and includes a t-shirt. Finishers will also receive a medal and ‘Mocktail of Hope’. Dogs on leads are welcome.

To register for the event or to find out more.

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Harry’s JustGiving page, go to


For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at the Brain Tumour Research charity on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or


Notes to Editors

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours, and we are a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.

We are building a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence whilst influencing the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.

We welcome recent funding announcements for research into brain tumours from the UK Government and Cancer Research UK – £65 million pledged over the next five years. However, this potential funding of £13 million a year comes with a catch – money will only be granted to quality research proposals and, due to the historic lack of investment, there may not be enough of these applications that qualify for grants from this pot.

We want research funding parity with breast cancer and leukaemia. We are calling for a £30-35 million investment every year for research into brain tumours in order to fund the basic research groundwork needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.

The Brain Tumour Research charity is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT). We are supporting the crucial APPGBT 2018 Inquiry into the economic and social impacts of brain tumours and will publish their report in the autumn. We are also a key influencer in the development strategy for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. 

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours
  • In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
  • Brain tumours kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
  • Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers

Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website. We can also provide case studies and research expertise for the media.

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